Nicola Naturalist Society – Fall Events 2017

Evening meetings of the Nicola Naturalist Society are held at 7PM, usually on the third Thursday of the month, in the Lecture Theatre of NVIT (Nicola Valley Institute of Technology) on Belshaw Road, Merritt. Our evening meetings are free for members. We have awesome raffles.

Scroll down to see what is coming up from October through December 2017

For insurance reasons, our field outings are restricted to our members (visitors can join membership-for-a-day). To join the Nicola Naturalist Society click here: Membership Page

Thursday October 19th 2017, 7 PM at NVIT Lecture Theatre: David Pitt-Brooke – Crossing Home Ground – A Grassland Odyssey Through Southern Interior British Columbia.

Author and naturalist, David Pitt-Brooke stepped out for a walk one morning—a very long walk. He covered over a thousand kilometres through the valleys of southern interior British Columbia. He went in search of beauty and lost grace in a landscape that has seen decades of development and upheaval. Based on his recently published book, David will speak about his journey’s experiences, including moments of discovery and re-connection with the natural world. David is an eloquent speaker and his presentation, combined with photographs from his journey and of the nature he encountered, is a real treat.

David’s  book will be available for purchase at the meeting. He is also the author of another noted book about Canadian wilderness experiences : Chasing Clayoquot – A Wilderness Almanac.

Thursday November 16th 2017, 7 PM at NVIT Lecture Theatre: Alan Burger – Wildlife in the Far North: Life in a Changing Arctic

Nicola Naturalist Society president Alan Burger regularly works as a naturalist/lecturer on a small ecotourist ship in the Arctic and Antarctic. In this presentation he shares his experiences and photos of wildlife and the environment in the High Arctic north of Norway (Svalbard Archipelago) & East Greenland. This area supports high densities of Polar Bears, and thriving populations of Walrus, Muskox, Reindeer, Arctic Fox and more. Plus dramatic glaciers & tundra flora.

Arctic Fox, Walrus and Polar Bear are among the typical species of the High Arctic. Photos: ©Alan Burger

Saturday 18th November, 10 AM – noon:  Nature hike with Norm Hansen

Join Norm for an easy walk starting at the Merritt airport (meet at the airport buildings on the far side of the airport from the Walmart site). Enjoy sagebrush and riverine habitats and some interesting ranching history.

We don’t have an evening meeting in December, but two popular events …

Saturday 2nd December 2 – 4 PM, NVIT Room L017:  Winter Bird Identification Workshop (for NNS Members)

Brush up on your identification skills for the upcoming Christmas Bird Count. Or improve your knowledge of the birds at your feeder. Come to the bird identification workshop led by Alan Burger. This will focus on birds likely to be seen in and around Merritt in winter. Beginner birders welcome.

Mystery Bird #1 Can you identify this bird? Scroll down to see its identity. Photo: © Alan Burger

Saturday December 16th: Merritt Christmas Bird Count.

You don’t have to be an expert birder to participate in our Christmas Bird Count. It is a great way to get to learn the local winter birds – each birding group has at least one experienced birder. Followed by a festive potluck for participants. If you are interested in participating and not already on the contact list send us an e-mail

Mystery bird #2. This is a regular species in the Merritt Christmas Bird Count, but is not found in our area in the summer. Scroll down to see its identity. Photo: © Alan Burger






Mystery bird identification

Mystery bird #1 – Female Hooded Merganser – this species breeds in our area but is also found through the winter if there is open water on lakes or large ponds. Mergansers are ducks that are specialized for catching small fish and aquatic insects and have a long, narrow beak with serrations along the inner edges to help hold slippery prey.

Mystery bird #2 – Rough-legged Hawk. About the same size as the common Red-tailed Hawk, this species breeds on the Arctic tundra and migrates to our area in the winter. The black “wrist” patches on the underwing are the diagnostic feature, along with the barred tail, small head and beak, and feathery legs. Unlike Red-tailed Hawks the Rough-legged often hovers in search or rodent prey, as seen in this photo.

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